Several weeks after public health officials around the Bay began sounding alarm bells about upticks in case numbers, the resulting uptick in cases requiring hospitalization is now happening in force at hospitals around the region.
San Francisco saw a jump in hospitalizations this week to levels not seen mid-September, and the overall number of COVID hospitalizations in the nine-county Bay Area — both confirmed and suspected COVID cases — has doubled since the last week of October, from 371 on October 25 to 741 on Tuesday, November 24.
In Santa Clara County, the number of hospitalizations hit 237 on Tuesday the same day that the county recorded a new record for daily new cases, with 512. Santa Clara has seen the most cumulative COVID cases of any other county in the region since the pandemic began, with 31,603 as of yesterday, and the current surge seems to be hitting the county the fastest so far.
Alameda County saw an 18% jump in hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 27 new COVID patients (confirmed and suspected) admitted — and a nearly 50% jump in intensive-care patients in one day. A total of 176 people are currently hospitalized in the county, with 37 in ICU beds.
"The ability for our hospitals to care for the most critical patients is a critical concern when dealing with COVID-19,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Santa Clara County's COVID-19 Testing Officer, speaking to KRON4. "The more we protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19, the less likely we will be filling up hospital beds."
San Francisco remains in the state's "Red" tier for reopening, having slipped there from the "Yellow" tier on November 16, and officials believe a move to the "Purple" tier indicating "widespread" virus spreading is expected later this week.
Hospitalizations in San Francisco stand at 63 as of Tuesday, which is double the number hospitalized a month ago. But this is still below the triple digits seen in July and August — though those days look to be returning soon, with daily new cases now regularly in the triple digits, and 189 new cases added this morning.
SF's Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax gave a press briefing Tuesday in which he stressed the continued need for masks and social distancing, and discouraged San Franciscans from traveling or gathering in groups for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"This is not time to throw caution to the wind," he said.